Hello, its me
I’ve been wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet
To go over, everything
They say that time’s supposed to heal ya
But I ain’t done much healing
Let’s start today with a little anecdote. The inspiration for this blogpost came this weekend, when I played Adele’s ‘Hello’ on the piano. I have to confess, I am a big Adele fan. I love her. And I was curious about ‘Hello’ and how hard it would be to perform. At the moment Adele’s smashing hit from her album 25 has more than 1 billion views on YouTube (for those of you that also need a visual: 1.000.000.000 views), which is absolutely insane, and breaks all kinds of records. So when I looked at the chords for this song a few days ago, I was astounded: this could not be right. Only 4 chords?! Okay maybe 1 or 2 more in the bridge, but that’s it.
How could such a simple song become such a hit? Is it brilliant in it’s simplicity (she would not be the first one)? Or is it the marketing? Let’s have a look at both sides of the story.
A 30 second clip to release the storm
The pro-marketing party states that the clever build up to the song caused the immens amount of hits on YouTube. The release date of the single was a well-kept secret and an unannounced teaser was aired during the commercial break on X-factor UK:
The crowd went wild. Their Adele was back, unannounced, and with her most emotional and powerful voice ever. The buzz around the release of the new album was enormous; fans had been waiting a long time for this new album, after complete silence from the singer for over 3 years. Adele does not do interviews, prefers to keep to private events and does not reveal much of her private life; her voice and the lyrics with the commercial were enough to create a hype. Additionally, there were also marketing
expenses for offline exposure of the album, as the striking example of the ‘Adele tram’ here in Amsterdam illustrates:
Hello, it’ me…on a tram
Adele’s marketing team understood perfectly that, in order to match the number of sales of her last album ’21’ , the fanbase needed to be reengaged. The teaser was exactly enough to release the buzz storm online. The singer’s marketers did a great job by listening to the fan base and giving them exactly what they wanted: just Adele and her voice. Nothing more, nothing less.
Adele’s secret weapon
However, there is also the artistic side of the song. For example David Rees, of the Dave conservatoire state, said:
“Adele’s performances express a direct kind of emotional connection that her audience clearly loves. She has mastered a range of vocal colours and techniques, but cuts particularly through her long, held, higher notes – a key feature of both ‘Hello’ and ‘Rolling in the Deep’. This is, in our view, Adele’s secret weapon.”
The song is simple, yes, but does that mean that it is not art? In it’s simplicity it is also easily copied, covered and sang under the shower by the immense fanbase that Adele has build, which contributes to the virality of the music video. As David Rees states, the emotional connection that Adele has in here voice is something the audience clearly loves. So one could argue that the quality of the song in combination with Adele’s unique voice are the reasons behind the succes of ‘Hello’.
The question I want to raise today is: what do you think?
Are you with team marketing, and do you agree ‘Hello’s success is purely based on strategy, or are you with team musical skill, and do you think it is simply a beautiful song? OR could it possibly one of the most lovely marriages between art and marketing to this day?
I would love to hear your thoughts. To inspire you some more, here are some stils from the ‘Hello’ videoclip.